The Last 3 Weeks: Lymphoma Suckhole Pt. 3


Not amused.

When I initially received Mort’s diagnosis I did what I do: research. And I didn’t understand the dearth of significant first hand accounts.

Ah, those halcyon days.


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The Enumerated Suck of the First Week: Lymphoma Suckhole Pt. 2

This is Part 2 in an ongoing series about Mortimer, Original Critter, who has been diagnosed with feline hepatic lymphoma. Read more about that whole pile of shit here and here.

The first week sucks so bad.

I’m technically only on Day 5 of the first week, and it’s already been the longest and crappiest that I can remember in recent times. And that stands to reason: my cat is a walking time bomb. Of course that sucks. What’s surprising is the numerous, often excessively banal, ways in which the first week of a lymphoma diagnosis is a horror. So, without further ado, let’s just jump straight into this flaming shitpile with both feet.

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*unintelligible swear words*

This is a terrible picture because this has been a terrible week.


Mortimer, Original Critter, has lymphoma.

That’s why he looks very angry above: he was, at the time, 12 hours out from his first chemo, had significantly diminished liver function, hadn’t eaten in 3.5 days, and was suffering mild encephalopathy.

Fuck cancer.

I’ve decided I’m going to chronicle whatever the hell happens from here on out mainly for people who, like me, take their cat to the vet for some vague weirdness only to be told, after several hours and multiple bags of chips that, actually: lymphoma. And especially for people who then frantically wipe the grease and crumbs off their fingers to google “cat lymphoma prognosis” and wind up with far more depression and confusion than they had while trying to wrap grey matter around the understanding that time with their kitteh is now finite in a painfully specific way.


I’ll do a couple background posts and then, hopefully, post many updates over the next few years.

If you’ve come across this in your Googlage and are wondering how to proceed, let me state right up front that I have no idea or recommendations beyond strongly suggesting that you consult a veterinary oncologist. I can only share what we’ve decided, why we decided it, and how everything plays out.

So, the following are relevant to our specific situation, based on discussions with our veterinary oncologist:

12yo neutered male domestic shorthair. Former barn kitten. Has lived the spoiled life since 8 weeks of age. Indoor only. Fed only the fancypants-est food. Grain free for the past 10 years, raw-fed (prey model home, prepared frozen, and prepared dehydrated) for the past 3 years. Sees a holistic vet for yearly checkups. Gets only rabies vax. Has been the picture of health, if a bit on the portly side, his entire life.

Hepatic Lymphoma with super giant intestinal lymph nodes and a shitty liver. I believe that is the highly technical terminology. Will also accept: Fucking shit. That’s what we have.

Chemo, or imminent death from liver failure.

Chemo. Madison protocol. That’s 2 months of weekly treatments as an outpatient, followed by 4 months of treatments every other week.

Since liver failure is a pretty significant complicating factor, prognosis is uncertain and depends entirely on:

  • Mort’s ability to tolerate the chemo
  • The responsiveness of the cancer to the treatments
  • The ability to return the liver to somewhat normal functionality.

In general, cats tolerate chemo in this application quite well. Lymphoma in cats cannot be cured, therefore treatment aims to improve quality of life and, ideally, achieve remission. This means that side effects are kept to a relative minimum and this treatment protocol cannot, in any regard, be compared to the level of sickness commonly induced by chemo in humans. If remission can be achieved, then Mort could get a couple quality years. Median survival rate is 1.5 years.

I cannot stress this enough: The goal of treatment is to use the chemo to make Mort feel better. Not to make Mort violently ill in the short term, with long term hopes of beating the disease. Since the  disease cannot be beaten, there is no point in causing suffering.

I do not intend to present as any sort of authority on the subject. I am just a seriously freaked out person with a very sick kitty and if anything that we (Schmoop, Mort, Other Critters, and I) go through in the course of whatever is to come can provide any sort of comfort then I might as well share it.

Blog will remain blue for the forseeable future, mainly because making it all black (LIKE MY SOUL) would be super hard to read.

Fuck Cancer.

Read Part 1.

“Cal! Wanna go out?!”



That’s what I said. And this ^ is what Cal did. 

I interpret it variously as:

“Actually, no. I don’t want to go out. And, frankly, I don’t understand why she (*studiously ignores Karmann, who really wants to go out*) does, either. It’s very hot, and there are people out there. At this time of day traffic will be bad, making it difficult to cross the street, not to mention the cat that’s been tormenting us, invisibly, for the past several days. So no. No I will not be going out there until bedtime pee break, and even then, I’d prefer you instruct dad to make it quick.”


“Lalalala I can’t hear you lalalalalalalalala”

But also, possibly,

“I guess this means you’re going to start writing that blog thing again? Great. I’m enthused. Tell me more about the impending trip to puppycamp.”

Conversation with Karmann


Karmann: Mom. Mom we have to talk.

Me: Yes?

Karmann: You know I have Addison’s, right? 

Me: I am aware.

Karmann: Right. Yeah. I know cause I was there when the vet told you.

Me: Indeed you were.

Karmann: I was also there when she told you that any kind of stress–happy exciting stress or bad scary stress–would likely require a bolus of Prednisone SO WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!???

Me: I–wha-??

Karmann: You took me to the vet on Thursday and I was both excited and nervous so I became a total spaz over the weekend and where was my bolus? Mom! Where was my bolus?

Me: But you’ve been doing so well managing stress that I didn’t even–

Karmann: Out! Take me out! My intestines have yet more mucuos I need to evacuate! YOU DID THIS. 

(Take Karmann outside, wander futilely as she sniffs around, uncomfortable. After 10 minutes, return to the house.)

Me: Awwwwww, Nut. I’m sorry.

Karmann: You did this. Shape up.

Me: 😟

Karmann: Oh hey, and before you go back downstairs, I just want you to know–when you accidentally gave me Cal’s Trazadone? And I was stoned all day? And you laughed?

Me: Yeah, I am REALLY sorr–

Karmann: I remember. Just know that. I remember. 

Now I Am Become Death


Living room, just after sunrise on a Wednesday. Kelley drinks tea on the couch beside Schmoopie, who is eating oatmeal. Squirrels frolic in the trees just outside the back windows.

KARMANN: I see tree kittens. I see tree kittens. I see tree kittens! I see TREE KITTENS!!! I SEE TREE KITTENS OH MY DOG I SEE THEM THEY ARE THERE AND THEY ARE FROLICSOME!!!

CALVIN: I guess she sees tree kittens.


CALVIN: sigh

MORTIMER: (ninja moves)

KARMANN: (incomprehensible shouting)

Panic ensues as the household is overtaken by shouty dogs and swatting cats. Humans emerge victorious after several minutes of chase, and Schmoopie returns to couch, holding puffy and irritated Mortimer

MORTIMER: That’s right. I control this shit.

KELLEY: You destabilize this shit, is what you do.

MORTIMER: Exactly, mom. Exactly.

KELLEY: Who are you? Shiva?

MORTIMER: (looks away) This conversation has gone too far.

Happy Christmas!


Happy Holidays to all!

Critters are currently not stirring but, as always, they reserve the right to stir (possibly violently) at a moment’s notice. So I’m taking advantage of the stillness to consume a bedtime Manhattan in rare, relative peace.

I hope everyone enjoys, or has enjoyed, their celebration of choice.

*Swear Words*

I love the smell of leather.

My couch is leather. Nice leather. I love the smell of naps on my couch. Mmmmmmm leather.

I do not love the smell of leather when a kitten has pooped on it and ground the poop into the leather where it has festered for a weekend while humans are out of town on blissful anniversary trip to Cooperstown.

I do not like coming home after said wonderful weekend only to snuggle back into the couch and get disconcerting whiffs of cat poop from the snuggly nest I have just made.

I do not like throwing back the fleece blanket folded on the couch to discover a kitten has used it to bury aforementioned poop upon discovering that they could not make the poop disappear by mashing it into the leather sofa.

I do not like the smell of wet, kitten poop-scented leather once cleaning attempts become desperate and possibly damaging.

I do not have pictures to accompany this post, for which you are welcome.

Kittehs Got Aim


Our house was built in 1928 and, for the most part, the original floors are in great shape. The above is a noted exception where some event of history has gouged a not insignificant chunk from the board at the joint.

The above is also exactly where some kitteh deposited their most recent hairball. Lovingly, it would seem, and overnight so that the soggy wad of fluff had time to really fill the crevice before human discovery the next morning.

I now have a positive model of that crevice made of cat hair, if any jewelry makers out there are interested in starting a line of construction-related lost wax obliquely cat centric baubles.